High School Has 8 Seniors Ride a Train UNCHAPERONED!

Readers — Get a load of this. For their senior trip, some students from a Philly high school went to Williamsburg, VA for four days. When eight of them got into trouble for causing plumbing damage in a hotel bathroom, they were sent home, on a train. So can you guess what the problem is, according to the media (and livid parents)?

These “children” (aged 17 and 18, I presume) were on the train “unchaperoned!” For five whole hours! And, of course, “Anything could have happened!” as one mom predictably lamented.

You know what? Something DID happen. They screwed up and got sent home. But being on a train with your friends in your later teen years is NOT an unacceptable risk — because it isn’t a risk at all. It’s no big deal! Treating it like it’s the equivalent of sending a three-year-old on a solo cross-country Greyhound trip MAY be the reason the kids were such jerks at the hotel: They’re used to being treated like babies.

Let’s hear it for the school that is not caving in. Instead, it is pointing out the students signed a contract before the trip that said they could be sent home if they got in trouble. And they did and they were. Without a chaperone. Imagine that. – L.

How dare a school treat 18-year-olds like adults?!


65 Responses

  1. […] High School Has 8 Seniors Ride a Train UNCHAPERONED! Posted on June 8, 2012 by admin document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src=%27http://s10.histats.com/js15.js%27 type=%27text/javascript%27%3E%3C/script%3E")); try {Histats.start(1,1591082,4,0,0,0,""); Histats.track_hits();} catch(err){}; Readers Get a load of this. For their senior trip, some students from a Philly high school went to Williamsburg, VA for four days. When eight of them got into trouble for causing plumbing damage in a hotel bathroom, they were sent home, on a train. So can you guess what the problem is, … Read more: https://freerangekids.wordpress.com/ […]

  2. […] High School Has 8 Seniors Ride a Train UNCHAPERONED! Posted on June 8, 2012 by admin document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src=%27http://s10.histats.com/js15.js%27 type=%27text/javascript%27%3E%3C/script%3E")); try {Histats.start(1,1591082,4,0,0,0,""); Histats.track_hits();} catch(err){}; Readers Get a load of this. For their senior trip, some students from a Philly high school went to Williamsburg, VA for four days. When eight of them got into trouble for causing plumbing damage in a hotel bathroom, they were sent home, on a train. So can you guess what the problem is, … Read more: https://freerangekids.wordpress.com/ […]

  3. […] High School Has 8 Seniors Ride a Train UNCHAPERONED! Posted on June 8, 2012 by admin document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src=%27http://s10.histats.com/js15.js%27 type=%27text/javascript%27%3E%3C/script%3E")); try {Histats.start(1,1591082,4,0,0,0,""); Histats.track_hits();} catch(err){}; Readers Get a load of this. For their senior trip, some students from a Philly high school went to Williamsburg, VA for four days. When eight of them got into trouble for causing plumbing damage in a hotel bathroom, they were sent home, on a train. So can you guess what the problem is, … Read more: https://freerangekids.wordpress.com/ […]

  4. The outrage here should be the damages these kids did to the Great Wolf Lodge and how they are going to make restitution. That is how this school trip went bad.

    They were not alone. They were on a public train surrounded by other adults. And at 17 and 18, THEY are actually considered adults and should act in such a way. Unchaperoned.

    The interview with the mother and how the media portrays this as such a scandal is truly laughable. I would be MORTIFIED at my parenting skills if my kid acted so badly they got kicked off a school trip.

  5. The news, and the parents seem to clearly miss the point…the charter school focus is Leadership Preparatory Academy. Their 18 year old “children” can now go off to war, vote, leave home. It sounds like the school is continuing to deliver on preparing for leadership…it requires independent thought to lead……amazing. No chaperon’s…OMG…;-)

  6. SENIORS. Meaning at this point in the school year, they are within DAYS of graduating high school. Within DAYS of society expecting them to get a job and contribute to society, go to college or, preferably, both. They need a chaperone to sit on a train? At their point in life, I was sitting in a plane alone heading to France for the summer.

  7. What I find interesting is this: when teens are unchaperoned it’s akin to child abuse. Call the cops! But when a 17 yo commit a serious crime then by all means, charge them as an adult.

    We had a case a while back where a 13 yo killed his parents in Colorado. The justice system spent a considerable about of time trying to determine if the teen should be tried as an adult. If teens can be tried as an adult, capable of making adult decisions such as murder at 13 years old, then it would seem we should “try” them as adults for other aspects of life as well, including riding a train with friends.

    We can’t have it both ways. Either we start to treat teens as young adults for all aspects of their life, or we don’t and we live with the consequences.

    Sheesh. 18 and they need a chaperone. Did he forget his pacifier, is that why mom is so upset?

  8. Well if they damaged the hotel plumbing chances are they could easily damage the train as well. And the chance of that happening appears to be much higher than usual with these high school seniors. Still, I’m assuming the parents gave their consent, which is all that matters if they’re under 18…

  9. There is definitely some kind of connection between the American culture’s extended infantilization of the population and how the government treats people like babies and shackles them in serfdom.

    Many adults amongst us seem to want to keep kids from growing up and being responsible for themselves, while government bureaucrats increasingly imprison us with one new totalitarian decree after another.

  10. If I had been sent home from a field trip because of my behavior (or damaging anything) my mother would be on the news because of her anger . . . but she’d be railing against me not against the school or anything else. If I was old enough to go on an overnight trip I certainly was expected to behave like an adult.

    For the life of me I’ve never found the adulthood switch people seem to think exists. As if kids are too young to handle anything on their own until some arbitrary milestone suddenly flips the switch and they now can handle everything. Or maybe it’s a plug of some sort?

  11. The 18 year olds could be dodging IEDs in Afghanistan. The 17 year olds could be driving two-ton hunks of metal down the interstate.

    But mommy’s afraid for them to RIDE A TRAIN???? In the U.S., mind you, not Uzbekistan?

    Now if it were Amtrak that were expressing the fear, given the behavior of these miscreants, that would make some sense.

  12. I have more trust in my 7 year old than this parent has in her 17 year old. I’ve let my kid run unsupervised around a playground and around a campground. I left him alone in a hotel room while I retrieved dinner from a restaurant across the street. Go through life fearing the worst, and you’re not going to have much of a life.

  13. When I was 15 I regularly rode the train roughly that same distance (on that same route actually) to and from school every other weekend. And then (horrors) I would call my mom (from a payphone) so she’d know to leave the house and then I’d take the metro from the train station to the stop closest to our house where she would pick me up. My mother’s only real concern was that I’d fall asleep on the train and miss my stop but that was overshadowed by spending less than an hour in the car vs the 7-8 hours to drive all the way to my school and back.

  14. After graduating from high school, my best friend and I decided to go on our own “Senior Trip” instead of going along on the official school-sponsored trips. With our parents’ blessings, we flew down to San Diego, got a hotel room, rented a car, and spent a week enjoying the beach. Two teenage girls, 17 and 18, on their own for a week, and we survived!

    Looking back, I am thankful our parents trusted us so much. I’m also kind of impressed that we managed to be responsible enough to successfully plan and budget for our own vacation. It’s a good reminder to me that teens are more capable than we give them credit for.

  15. Let’s not forget the after graduation tradition of Senior Week. For graduating Seniors around the Philly region, they often go to the Jersey Shore. Does the mom expect a chaperone for this as well?!

    I think I know why she was so concerned that “anything could happen” to them if they got off the train in Washington, DC. Maybe she was worried they would destroy more plumbing? And that she would have to pay for more of their damages?

  16. My then 9 and 12 year old kids flew from Prague, Czech Republic to Tokyo, Japan, unaccompanied. They did have a guide at the airports (this was required by the airline) but on the plane they were by themselves. That’s about 20 hours on planes, with changes and jetlag. They did fine.

    If my kids “broke the plumbing” at the age of 18, they’d be buying parts and paying the plumber – with me barefoot because my boots would be firmly up their butts.

    I certainly would not blame the school. I’d make them pay me back for the cost of the trip, and make them pay for the repairs, and make them write a formal letter of apology to the school and to the hotel. If I could swing it, I’d make them apologize to the whole senior class.

    And I’d make them stand on a street corner like this:

  17. Love the Logic — the book helps a parent to let their child take reasonable responsibility from the time they are three and onward, for things they can do at this age.
    if you forget your lunch you are hungry when you get home. next time that child will think about what all needs to come along for a school day.
    it is amazing how young a child can be and think clearly when given the chance to do so.

  18. Christ, is the channel that reported this ever grasping for a story. It’s embarrassing. Judging by the comments, it looks like people are getting it; there’s a lot of “Whaaaaat? Am I missing something? These kids are 17 and 18!”

  19. Donna said: “At their point in life, I was sitting in a plane alone heading to France for the summer.”

    Me, too. Only I was a junior. I saved up the whole summer before and paid for half of the trip myself (with a generous uncle paying the other half as a gift). While in France we were staying with the BFF’s mom (who lives there), but at one point we hopped on a train and spent a week at another friend’s vacation home. No adults, just a bunch of teenagers, and half of them boys! (Horror!) And while there, the boys even took an unscheduled trip into Spain. When my mom heard about that, she was disappointed for me that I decided to sleep in instead of going to Spain.

    The only problem I can see with these kids being alone is that they are clearly untrustworthy little *&^%s.

  20. […] High School Has 8 Seniors Ride a Train UNCHAPERONED! Posted on June 8, 2012 by admin document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src=%27http://s10.histats.com/js15.js%27 type=%27text/javascript%27%3E%3C/script%3E")); try {Histats.start(1,1591082,4,0,0,0,""); Histats.track_hits();} catch(err){}; Readers Get a load of this. For their senior trip, some students from a Philly high school went to Williamsburg, VA for four days. When eight of them got into trouble for causing plumbing damage in a hotel bathroom, they were sent home, on a train. So can you guess what the problem is, … Read more: https://freerangekids.wordpress.com/ […]

  21. […] High School Has 8 Seniors Ride a Train UNCHAPERONED! Posted on June 8, 2012 by admin document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src=%27http://s10.histats.com/js15.js%27 type=%27text/javascript%27%3E%3C/script%3E")); try {Histats.start(1,1591082,4,0,0,0,""); Histats.track_hits();} catch(err){}; Readers Get a load of this. For their senior trip, some students from a Philly high school went to Williamsburg, VA for four days. When eight of them got into trouble for causing plumbing damage in a hotel bathroom, they were sent home, on a train. So can you guess what the problem is, … Read more: https://freerangekids.wordpress.com/ […]

  22. Gosh, I’d already been at university 1,000 miles away from home for two years at that age. I’m more worried about the train than the kids.

    Maybe if these kids had been “unchaperoned” and prepared for responsible, independent decision-making a little earlier in their young lives, they would have learned how to handle themselves at a hotel?

  23. I’ve been reading these stories too long… I was expecting the school to back down, apologize, maybe fire someone.

    Glad they were so refreshingly reasonable.

  24. Ali: you’ve hit the nail on the head. Elisabeth Young-Bruehl has explained that paradox by coining the term ‘childism’ to describe the deep-seated fear and prejudice against young people in our society. It seems that it’s all about control.

  25. I agree with Havva. I have taken students younger than this cross-country, and it was made clear to parents that if someone acted up, they’d be put on the next plane home. We would never sacrifice one of the chaperones to accompany the student! It’s these kinds of parents who will complain about anything.

  26. As a former teacher, I always hate to see parents blaming schools when they should be angry with their own children. So many people refuse to take personal responsibility anymore. Where is this sense of entitlement coming from?

    Really, why in the world would a parent be upset at the school in this situation? And why, why, WHY would they ignore what their child did?! Causing plumbing damage takes some serious horsing around!

    Some parents don’t place any faith in the authority of schools, and defend their children at any cost. Of course, authority needs to be questioned sometimes, and of course parents often do need to defend their children, but why can’t people learn to make some judgment calls? THINK, people!

  27. […] High School Has 8 Seniors Ride a Train UNCHAPERONED! Posted on June 8, 2012 by admin document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src=%27http://s10.histats.com/js15.js%27 type=%27text/javascript%27%3E%3C/script%3E")); try {Histats.start(1,1591082,4,0,0,0,""); Histats.track_hits();} catch(err){}; Readers Get a load of this. For their senior trip, some students from a Philly high school went to Williamsburg, VA for four days. When eight of them got into trouble for causing plumbing damage in a hotel bathroom, they were sent home, on a train. So can you guess what the problem is, … Read more: https://freerangekids.wordpress.com/ […]

  28. Others have probably shared this sentiment, but by all accounts these kids are done with high school. I’m a little afraid they can’t handle life by themselves. A high school graduate should be able to manage the basics of a train…

  29. Wow, when I was a senior, just graduated actually, my friend and I decided to drive to Cedar Point from mid-Michigan. Basically a 4-5 hour drive, depending on traffic and construction. Our parents were okay with it, we got up at 4am to get there around opening time, stayed the entire day until close and drove back home. All without a chaperone!

    And then, later in the summer, I did it AGAIN with my younger sister, who was 15, still in high school.

    Reading this sort of thing just boggles my mind.

  30. If this boy had not been an idiot in the hotel room (his first night without mommy?) I would feel sorry for him. He looks embarrassed throughout the entire interview with his mom.

  31. I am the worst mother in history, at 17, I sent my daughter cross country on Greyhound to Grandma’s House (Houston Texas to Missoula Montana) and you know what happened? nothing, why? because she had made the trip before with her twin sister when they were 14 without incident, credit card, or cell phone. I was still able to call them at the Denver Terminal when they arrived at 1/2 way to determine if they had burned through all their spending money (they had) and make arrangements for them to borrow $20 an each subsequent driver to pay the previous until they reached Montana and g’ma was able to pay the last driver. They learned a valuable lesson about time and money management. I am just crazy that way. at 26 year old she is now ready to buy her first house and manage a mortgage without a cosigner.

  32. When I was in grade 11 in 1985 a group of us went to Britain for 10 days. We were all from a rinky-dink small town in Northern BC. Most of us had never been to a big city before in our lives!! While in London we had plenty of free time where it was just assumed that we’d go off and do our thing and be back in time for whatever it was we needed to do together. Some friends and I went to Hyde Park, I made plans to go to church on Sunday–and made my way there and back alone on the Tube. Went shopping by myself–met up with a few friends later. The most vivid memories on that trip aren’t the official group tours–which were great and all– but the fun with friends exploring the city on our own. Most meals while in London we figured out on our own–and we found some really neat places to eat and met cool people all without supervision!! It wasn’t even considered–it was just expected that we’d figure it out, and we did–of course. It was awesome!!!

  33. Oh dear. This ranks up there with the story of the Dad who (not winning any parent of the year awards,) left his 17 year old in the car after midnight, while he went into the bar to drink. He was arrested for child neglect. Because this 17 year old of course could not take care of himself in the car. The 17 year old had no mental disabilities. He probably could have put the key in the car and left at any time.

    Apparently the cops in this situation agree with the parents with the train ride. So sad. I expect more from my kids, and they average 1/2 the age of these teens. I guess mommy will be there wiping the puke up after they go to their first drinking party in college.

    Although, I do have to agree with Ali. When a kid commits a crime at this age, they are an adult. With adult consequences. Maybe lawyers need to start arguing that the kids were impaired when they committed the crimes because mommy/daddy wasn’t there to tell them the right thing to do.

  34. At 18, I was too busy working full time to pay MY RENT in MY APARTMENT (while still IN high school) to think about causing damage on a school trip. I would be beyond furious at my daughter’s school if they allowed her to continue on a trip with them if she’d been caught doing something like that, instead of sending her home!!! She’s only 4 right now, but that’s beside the point…

  35. I was in high school ’76-80, we generally smoked a lot of weed and spent a lot of our time looking for weed. The last thing on our lparent’s mind was whether we were “chaperoned” but rather were we “ok”- Anyway, our collective perspective has been hijacked by the incessant draw of what these “cocktail parents” regard as their need to be “good”parents. Play dates, parent conferences, etc. It’s all backward. To be good parents, what we really need is to let go of The controll we somehow feel we need.

  36. Before I was this age, I WAS the adult supervision. During my senior year of high school, I stayed home alone for a week with my then 3 year old brother. I began staying home alone while my parents traveled well before then, and maybe even with my brother for a weekend, but that was the first time they had left me alone with the little one for that long.

    Heck, by the time my mother hit her final days of high school, she was the PARENT. Okay, maybe that isn’t a ringing endorsement for the lack of supervision, but she didn’t conceive me on a 5 hour unchaperoned train trip. Just a routine Saturday night date. And she even managed to get home before curfew.

  37. When I was 16 I started leaving school at 2:00, four days a week, catching the train into New York City, and from there taking a bus uptown to go to ballet class. Reverse all in the evenings, coming home on a 7:50 train, doing homework in my lap. Recently I asked my mom, “Were you nervous when I started going into the city by myself?” She gave this funny, wistful laugh and said, “Terrified.”

    And there was nothing more to say.

  38. At 17, I participated in a three-week exchange program with a school in Wales. An awesome girl from Wales spent three weeks in my home in the fall, going to school, going on trips, hanging out, having fun. Then I went and spent three weeks in her home. We technically had chaperones, but mine wasn’t even in the same town. Our parents had us participate in this knowing full well that they couldn’t control every moment of what we did. They did it because they trusted us and felt the adventure would be worth the risk.

    It totally was. I know I got a little crazy (liquor laws are VERY different there, or at least they were at the time). But for the most part, everyone in my group acquitted themselves well. No one got in any serious trouble. Everyone was too excited to do anything stupid and ruin the trip for themselves.

    This story disgusts me all the way around. I can’t help but think that maybe there’s a correlation between the way the kids acted on the trip and their parents’ horror at the “unsupervised” train ride. Maybe this trip to the Great Wolf was the most freedom they ever experienced and they just couldn’t handle it.

  39. Jonathan I can’t see what parent conferences have to do with this. Schools values them as a time to communicate a student’s progress. They actually want parents to attend.

    I agree that this is a ridiculous issue but I question taking kids this age to that place. It is geared to kids way younger. Indent condone their bad behavior but it was a recipe for disaster.

  40. Compare and contrast with Official Seeks Review Of Oakland School With Panhandling Students.

    A member of the Oakland School Board is taking action, following a joint CBS 5 and California Watch investigation into a school that sends children out to panhandle….

  41. On a recent plane trip, I sat next to a recent high school grad who gifted himself with a trip to NYC. He had never been on a plane before, but had managed to find a hotel near Madison Square Garden, booked a flight, and was off on his six day adventure. By himself. His excitement was contagious and two rows were giving him advice and cheap suggestions to visit. He DID have an aunt in the Bronx and a friend at NYU, so he wasn’t ALL alone, but I bet he was not going to be destroying plumbing or calling his mom every five minutes! I hope he had fun!

  42. Sheesh, in my early teens I was traveling across Texas on Greyhound to see relatives. With my younger brother in tow. Had I caused “plumbing issues”, my parents would be most unthrilled with me.

  43. The Great Wolf Lodge is a water park style hotel. I hope the damage done by these hoodlums didn’t affect other people’s stays. It is expensive (upwards of $250-$400 a night!) and for some families, this IS their vacation! I would be so furious with my “child” that there wouldn’t be any complaint to the school. How ridiculous.

  44. I can only see one part where I wouldn’t agree with the school – if the students did not have a good enough understanding of using the train prior to being put on it. I spent many a lost week when I first went to the city trying to figure out the bus system. I couldn’t even read the timetable until an old Italian lady took pity on me looking lost and explained it to me (it was like an epiphany!). After a few weeks I got the gist of it, and stopped ending up in all sorts of odd places on such a frequent basis (One night in a different new city I called my bestmate from a payphone and told him “I am in this suburb. How do I get home?” He had never been to that city either, but did have the internet. Turns out I was about 20kms away from my destination). Now, if I had grown up in a place with public transport of course at age 17/18 there would be an expectation I could use it. But, we didn’t have that where I grew up. It was your parent’s car or your own legs until you saved up enough for your own car.

  45. God, at this rate when my kids are older it’ll be ‘You’re letting them out on their own… in their THIRTIES? But anything could happen’

  46. If I had gone on a school field trip and caused damage, the last thing on my mother’s mind would have been taking a train home unchaperoned. First of all, I probably wouldn’t have been able to sit for a week and would have either been grounded for a period of time or given an earlier curfew until I prove that I was trustworthy. Then I would have had to use all of my babysitting money to pay for the damages as well as write a letter of apology to the hotel. As Dr. Phil likes to say, “When we choose the behavior, we choose the consequences.” My mother would never in a million years have blamed the school for something that I did. She would have been happy that the school enforced its rules and punished the wrongdoers.

    A story about what happens when we treat our kids like babies…I work with adult students from all over the world. Most of them are military officers, policemen, or work for their governments in some capacity. One of the buildings where I work is old and prone to power outages. A few years ago we had a nighttime power outage in the building that lasted for more than a few minutes. The colleague who I was working with went to check the breaker boxes, which were all okay (most of the power outages in the building are remedied by flipping a breaker). It turned out to be a power outage all over the part of the city where the base is located. Only one student seemed panicked over this power outage–an American junior military officer! He came down to my office and said, “It’s dark! When will the power come back on? What are we supposed to do?” My first thought was, “You’re an officer and a leader. You’re supposed to be able to figure out what to do.” My second thought was, “God help the people he’s supposed to be commanding if he panics over a simple power blackout. His unit will be in big trouble if it ends up getting deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.” My colleague and I assured him that the power would come back on eventually (it did) and let him borrow one of the flashlights that we keep in the office for checking breaker panels during nighttime power outages. The students from other countries took the power outage in stride and decided to go to sleep early that night.

  47. Baby-paramedic – What knowledge do they need? This is an intercity train, not local buses. The chaperone put them on the correct train. They didn’t need to do anything until they met their parents in Philly. Even for the most travel impaired, this is not rocket science. They don’t seem like geniuses but surely 1 of the 8 has enough sense to remember that they live in Philadelphia and not DC.

  48. @ Selby: That is such a classic example of true free range parenting!
    To be scared and still allow your kids the freedom to grow and thrive requires real courage. And selflessness.

  49. Well, perhaps there’s a misunderstanding, and where you read “chaperone”, they mean “someone who handcuffs the kids to make sure they don’t vandalize the train like they did the hotel room”, and when the mum says “anything could have happened” she meant “my boy had proved he’s a juvenile delinquent and shouldn’t be left unsupervised for the sake of his fellow travelers’ well being”.
    That would make more sense to me.

  50. Heavens at that age I went on holidays with friends – unchaperoned – to foreign countries. Slept in tents and even traveled alone to a different country to meet a friend there.

    The only reason I can think as to why these seniors need a chaperone is to protect the train from damage.

  51. What makes me even more depressed is that none of the reporters brought up the fact that these kids did criminal damage when questioning the mother. Or the fact her kid was in fact old enough to rent a car and drive himself home…

  52. @baby-paramedic the way to learn to ride the train is to ride it (without someone holding your hand), as your story shows!

  53. I am just reflecting that perhaps these circumstances are not the best time to be going on such an adventure if you had no base knowledge 😉 I ended up in all sorts of odd places when I first attempted public transport (still do occasionally, I do not use it often). My (as an adult) other half had never caught a plane before (I did not know this when I sent him the tickets), and he ended up in another town (how he managed to get on the wrong plane…is a story in itself). Having said that, an inter-city train you are put on does not exactly sound difficult! Then again, I did not think a smallish domestic airport would be that complicated either 😉

  54. Baby-paramedic – I’m beginning to think that maybe you and your other half should just avoid travel altogether. 🙂 j/k

  55. Haha, no – he can manage the public transport, I can manage airports. If we stick together we can usually find where we are going! It all comes down to where we have experience.

  56. My grandmother once told me a story about how she and her friend traveled (unchaperoned) from rural Alabama to New York city to stay with a family friend and go to a nearby Girl Scout camp. They took a train, and they were… nine years old. They also walked around Greenwich village by themselves. Then they took a boat home… unchaperoned. My grandmother lived into her 80’s and her friend is still living.

  57. When I was in high school, I was a part of Encounters With Canada and students across the country traveled alone or in groups to Ottawa for the week-long program. As alumni, I’m proud to see the program is still running and students are traveling across Canada, without a chaperone, to continue the experience. I can hardly wait until my own children are old enough to participate!

  58. Go school, and go teacher!

  59. This is terrible. I ride a commuter train daily and see kids as young as 10-12 riding alone. If your 17/18 year old isn’t capable of this “feat” then you haven’t done your job as a parent.

    I also find it bizarre that 18 year old “kids” will accept this treatment. At 18 I was wrapping up college and if my parents had told me that I couldn’t be “unchaperoned” you can guarantee that I would have found somewhere else to live, because I was, well, you know, AN ADULT! That’s where I see the big tragedy with stories like this. These young adults have spent their whole life being helicoptered that they no longer have the confidence, ability or knowledge when they reach adulthood. Heck, I don’t think most 18 year olds today even know that they are adults.

  60. I continue to find it ludicrous that some parents are still using the “anything could have/can happen” excuse. Of course anything can happen. Doesn’t matter whether your a kid or an adult, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN at any given time. You can be sitting “safely” and cozily in your living room, and large object from the sky can come crashing down on your house killing everyone. You can be taking a shower, slip and hit your head causing brain damage. You can get a little scrape and it turns into a flesh eating decease. How are these “anything can happen” scenarios any different than “anything can happen” riding on a train, without adults? Exactly, NOTHING. So why don’t these same parents freak out about staying at home, taking a shower, or doing day to day things that opens oneself to getting scraped or cut. But will freak out because their 17-18 year olds rode the train home by themselves? What a bunch of yahoos. These people shouldn’t be having children. They pass on the their stupidity and ignorance to their kids, which is pretty selfish of them. What’s the point of having kids when your just going to mess them up, and be ill prepared for their own future?

  61. I first rode the rails alone from Philly to NYC (upper West Side) when I was 13. Rode local to Trenton. Bought another ticket and rode local to NYC. I think round trip was something like $8. Those were the days!!

    I took a look at this story on the website and at the bottom are listed 6 more articles I “might be interested in”

    The top 3 are

    1 Texas mom arrested over angel dust on six-year-old daughter’s school lunch (MyFox Philadelphia)

    2 Pa. man charged with killing wife, young daughters (MyFox Philadelphia)

    3 Pervert lured 15-year-old girl to fake New Jersey lingerie shop, photographed and raped her (MyFox Philadelphia)

    No wonder people have lost all perspective.if these are the headlines in your face when you look at an article like this one.

  62. “On a recent plane trip, I sat next to a recent high school grad who gifted himself with a trip to NYC. He had never been on a plane before, but had managed to find a hotel near Madison Square Garden, booked a flight, and was off on his six day adventure.”

    Last fall, I was headed back to Chicago from a business trip, and sat next to a girl on the plane who looked a bit youngish. She was a young high school senior (16 years old) headed to Chicago over a long weekend to check out Loyola and DePaul.

    I gave her some advice on using public transportation in Chicago, but she seemed pretty competent to handle what she needed to handle on her own.

  63. This is just crazy. I can’t stand how people keep referring to 17/18 year olds as children. They aren’t children. At least they aren’t supposed to behave like children and if they are graduating high school they are officially adults (and at 18 legally considered adults).

    When my brother was 18, him and a few of his friends (who would have been 17 or so) decided to take a weekend canoe trip up in Wisconsin (we lived in Chicago). Him and his friends saved up, planned the route and drove up there on their own. Of course they ended up coming home early because my idiot brother forgot his sunblock and got sun poisoning. They had to carry him out of the woods because he was so sick and took him to the nearest hospital. Luckily they realized something was wrong and got him out before he died (he was really sick and had 2nd degree burns all over his arms).
    No one said anything about it other than what a dumbass my brother was for not asking to borrow someone else’s sunblock or telling his friends he was getting sick. No one was sued or accused of child endangerment.

    There was also many times my brother and his friends went from Chicago up to Gurnee to go to Great America (Six Flags park). They would have been around 14-16 years old. They’d get on the L by our house and ride into downtown, walk to the train station and get tickets on the Metra and ride up to Gurnee then call a cab to get to the park (there was apparently no direct buses then). There were no parents involved except to go pick them up because they left the park too late to catch the last train back to the city. Once they were old enough to drive they just went by car. On the interstate. I did the public transit with them one year (I was 18, home for the summer from college so my brother was 16 and his friends were 14 and 15). We’ve been left to our own devices at the park since we were 11 and 13. My dad would drop us off and pick up up 12 hours later when the park closed. We’d be on our own with our friends. I remember one year I was the oldest at 14. The other kids in our group were 14, 12, 12, 11 and 9. I was in charge (okay me and the other 14yo–we carried all the money). Good memories.

    Oh, and 18, after graduating high school, I was taking the train to and from my college during holidays. It was a 6 hour ride on Amtrak and I had to call a cab to get to and from the town campus was in and the town where the train station was (12 miles). And when I got to Chicago I then had to walk several blocks to the nearest L stop and catch that train to Midway Airport and then walk 1/2 mile home while carrying all my luggage. Occasionally my dad got me if his shift ended when I got into town (he worked at Union Station, he was an engineer for Amtrak).

    If anyone had called me a “child” at 17 and 18 I would have been seething. And would have gone crazy if someone thought I couldn’t handle a 5 hour train ride on my own. What is the world coming to?

  64. The more I read these articles the more it seems that the parents of these ” poor little angels” are really only after their 15 minutes of fame! How else would the media find out unless one of the parents called them, lol and actually admit they raised kids like that, they would have to be desperate to be on tv lol

  65. Ha! I had to comment on this one. Twelve years ago, when I was 17, my dad decided to take me with him on a business trip to southern Germany. I had taken two hears of high school German language class at the time, so I was far from fluent, although I knew enough to ask for directions, etc. For two weeks, we ate breakfast together, then went our separate ways — he to work, and me exploring the German town of Freiburg (and surrounding). I took the streetcar alone. I exchanged money at the bank alone. I shopped alone. I ate lunch alone. And I was in another country, for goodness’ sake! We met up every night for dinner. It was a great trip for an American teenager and a great experience! Parents: you worry too much. Honestly, if you’re upset about your “children” taking a train alone in a country where they speak the language, you’re raising dependent idiots.

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